Garner celebrates victory over 'Red Route'

The 540 extension Red Route would go through Garner.
March 23, 2011 4:13:12 PM PDT
The Town of Garner and hundreds of residents were fighting the Turnpike Authority and claimed victory last week. Now, they are celebrating.

"We were shocked," Realtor Paul Capps said in response to the victory. "We were flustered. We couldn't believe it."

Capps still remembers when he found out an extension of 540 could go through his retirement community.

"They were saying, 'Oh, did you hear about the proposed expressway coming through here?'" he recalled. "And I'm like, oh no, that's coming way south."

Capps didn't know the Turnpike Authority also was considering a route dubbed the "Red Route." It was a road town leaders said would split Garner in half and financially devastate the community.

Wake County Republican Senator Richard Stevens sponsored a bill that ultimately took the "Red Route" off the table.

"That legislation passed in 17 days," Stevens said. "It was almost a record down here. [It] passed the Senate unanimously, and I think one dissenting vote in the house and was signed by the governor the next day.'

Douglas Ball, a developer at Village at Aversboro, said: "We're very excited that Senator Stevens was able to push this through with the help of Senator Blue. It was very much a success for the town of Garner."

Senator Stevens says the department said it would never build the road, but was going to spend half a million public dollars to study it. "That made no sense to us at all," he said.

The Town of Garner will celebrate its victory Wednesday night at the Garner Historic Auditorium with balloons and cake.

All of the realtors and developers in the area hope business will pick up now that the "Red Route" is gone.

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